Willhite Paces Bulldogs With 18 Points
HAMDEN, Conn. – The faces may change for the Quinnipiac men's basketball team, but the style of play certainly doesn't. The Bobcats, who have eight new players, continue to play a relentless, in-your-face defense, and it helped lead to a hard-fought 68-62 victory over Yale before a big crowd of 2,744 at the TD Bank Sports Center.
It didn't hurt that James Johnson returned for Quinnipiac either. Johnson, who missed the season opening loss to Fairfield last Friday, scored 25 points to lead the Bobcats.
Quinnipiac outrebounded the Bulldogs 54-41 and forced Yale into 17 turnovers.
"That's their identity," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball. "They're going to chase the ball. They have a lot of big, strong bodies, and we didn't do a good enough job of keeping them off the glass."
The Bulldogs were held to just 26.8 percent (15-of-56) from the field.
"We weren't terribly patient on offense," Jones said. "We took too many first time opportunities."
The Bobcats also swarmed on Yale's leading scorer Greg Mangano, who took only seven shots and finished with five points.
"He didn't have a good shot all night," Jones said of Mangano, who did grab 10 rebounds and block three shots.
Nevertheless, the game was close for most of the way. There were eight ties and three lead changes. The final tie was at 43-43 with 13:20 left. Quinnipiac, though, scored the next eight points and never relinquished the lead.
The advantage grew to 12 with 3:46 remaining, but Yale stormed back. Two Willhite free throws pulled the Bulldogs within 64-59, but Johnson answered with a clutch, pull-up jump shot with the shot clock winding down and 50 seconds remaining to seal the win.
Yale (1-1) started strong and led by eight, 16-8, after seven minutes. Quinnipiac, though, scored the next seven points, and the rest of the first half was back-and-forth.
Quinnipiac sophomore Ike Azotam was a force inside, finishing with 17 points and 18 rebounds. He and Johnson were the only Bobcats to reach double figures.
NOTES: There were 57 fouls called in the game, which took nearly 2.5 hours to play… The Bulldogs were 27-of-38 from the foul line, while Quinnipiac went 23-of-32 from the line… Freshman Javier Duren scored seven points. Five of his points came from the foul line… Yale plays its home opener on Thursday night against Lyndon State, beginning at 7 p.m.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity